Kashmiri lamb meatballs: Yum.
Writing a post tonight: aargh. For reasons unbeknownst, I am beat tonight, so expect words tomorrow, when I will hopefully be less so.
Okay, it’s not so much “tomorrow,” but better late than never, right? Right. So: Kashmiri koftes*, or meatballs, start with ground lamb. I mixed in fresh ginger, cumin, ground coriander, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne, salt and a few tablespoons of plain yogurt; it’s the spice combo that makes this “Kashmiri.”
*From Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking
I loathe mixing cold ground meat with my hands – the addition of cold, creamy yogurt doesn’t help matters – but I love eating meatballs, so I suck it up. I shaped my meat into koftes, sausage-y, torpedo-y shapes. My pound of lamb yielded eight koftes, so mine were a bit on the hefty size.*
*“We’re just big boned!”
The kofte cooking process is two fold: first, you brown the meatballs in vegetable oil that’s been flavored with some aromatics. In this case, a cinnamon stick, some cloves, bay leaves and green cardamom pods went into an eighth of an inch of hot vegetable oil
Once the koftes are browned, you pour over a cup of water into which you’ve beaten a few more tablespoons of plain yogurt. The koftes simmer in this mixture for about thirty minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated from the pan and the koftes are once again sauteeing in fat.
While the koftes simmered, I threw together quick dish of red lentils with cumin. The red lentils simmered with some ginger and turmeric until done. Or in my case, because I think I’d purchased the wrong kind of lentils, until they broke down completely and turned into lentil puree. I swear, it happened in a matter of minutes; I still have no idea how it went down.
Once the lentils were done, I heated some clarified butter for the grand finale. Into the hot butter went cumin and coriander seeds and cayenne. They spattered about in the butter for a few minutes, and then the whole mess got dumped into the lentil mix and stirred in.
I spooned some lentil puree onto my plate, added some fresh cilantro and topped with my now brown and lovely koftes.
I just need to say: I fricking love Indian food. Kashmiri, Goan, Gujarati, Keralan, I don’t care, I love it. This meal was no exception; the koftes were perfectly spiced, perfectly cooked and perfectly paired with the earthy lentils.
But then, I guess you can’t go wrong with Madhur Jaffrey, can you? No, you can’t.